Deoxynivalenol (DON) is probably the most widely distributed Fusarium mycotoxin. Its occurrence in foods in North America, Japan, and Europe is common, but the concentration is relatively low; however, its contamination in cereals in some developing countries, particularly in southern China and areas of South America and Africa, is usually high during some years. In 1980 and 1981 in Canada and 1982 in the United States, DON was found in wheat as the result of severe infestations with the wheat scab fungus, F. graminearum. In both countries, the soft winter wheats were the most severely affected. In Canada, dried corn was found to contain higher levels of DON. Several countries have set guidelines or official tolerance levels for DON in food and feed. The range varies from 0.005 to 4 mg/kg. Acute mycotoxicoses affecting fairly large numbers of people and caused by ingestion of DON-contaminated food have been reported in China, India, and other countries.
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